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Severe anxiety from possible chronic illness (Hypochondria?)

AnthonyMG

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Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if my terrible anxiety situation can be considered hypochondria. If someone here could help me find out and share some advice on how to handle with this situation, I would be very grateful.

The issue is that I don't have a final diagnosis yet. And I'm not sure if I'll ever have one. And as the symptoms are obviously real and not caused by anxiety, I think it's probably not hypochondria, or it might have something about it, but not exactly hypochondria.

I'm sharing the situation with you...

4 and a half months ago I suffered some sort of accident (still to determine what actually happened) when I was eating hard shell seafood, as lobster, crab, etc. A piece as sharp as a needle and as hard as a rock pierced my tongue. It was not from one side to the other, but it was a deep pinching. It was painful (as you easily understand) but I got no more than a few seconds of pain from it.

After this I also started feeling that maybe a fragment of the shell was probably stuck somewhere in my throat. After finishing dinner, I felt like something was not right. I assumed that a fragment got stuck in my throat. It was not very painful and did not make me feel as if something was pinching my throat (as a stuck fish bone) but definitely something was wrong. Between the 2nd and the 4th day after this, I felt pain in the throat going down to the chest.

And a lot of times it was very clear to me that there was something stuck in there, probably in the area between the throat and esophagus. It even really felt like the material of the crab shell. I was 99% sure that something was stuck in there. I waited for it to go away, which never happened. I went to an otorhinolaryngologist 20 days after the episode. Laryngoscopy found nothing. Then CT scan found nothing either.

But I still have it, it's basically the same symptoms of the first month, not much difference, if any. But it is horrible and it's driving me mad, giving me a lot of anxiety. I'm totally exhausted and tired of this situation that is ruining my life...

I'm 40 and I already had to deal with a few hard and painful health conditions in the past, but I never had something as bad as this. It's so horrible that since the first weeks that I've started thinking that I just wanted to kill myself, which was never a robust idea because I have a lot of good reasons to keep alive and I always had the expectation that some doctor would manage to help or that it could go away on its own with time. But, continuing...

After the exams and consultations with that first otorhinolaryngologist, without getting to any diagnosis, I decided to visit a second otorhinolaryngologist in the beginning of this month, about 4 weeks ago. His diagnosis was:

Severe allergic reaction to the sea food that made my epiglottis shrink in one of the sides. As I actually really have an asymmetric epiglottis, smaller in the left side. And he says that the symptoms are due to this damage, it is for ever and there is no treatment or operation possible to treat it or soften the symptoms. He says I will have it for ever and it will not improve. This diagnosis increased my anxiety even more, to some very torturous levels. I basically couldn't deal with the possibility of having to live with this sensation in my throat forever.

And as I was not totally convinced, as many things didn't match up (I can list a lot of things that seem to be incompatible with this diagnosis), and as I was very anxious the days after I received that diagnosis, I decided to see a third otorhinolaryngologist.

This one has a different theory. As I have (for a long time now) poli-sinusitis, which he says includes a lot of "dirt" in the maxillary sinuses, as well as nasal polyps (a lot of them) and nasal septum deviation, he believes that all this has a direct relation with the problem and symptoms.

He assumes that I really had a fragment of the shell in my throat at some point in the beginning which then came out but the injury that it made created a susceptible site for colonization of bacteria coming from the nose, due to the sinusitis and polyps.

He asked for a CT scan of the sinusal area and for some blood tests. Already did that but still waiting for the results. He prescribed me antibiotics (cefuroxime), nasal wash and Aeromax (budesonide). Fourth day of this medication and no signs of improvement. Actually, the last 4 days have been terrible. Sometimes the symptoms become lighter and more bearable, but the last days they have been very intense and the medication didn't have any impact so far.

He said that with this medication I will improve and feel better. So lets see what happens, as the antibiotics have to be taken for 8 days and the nasal washes and budesonide for 3 weeks. He seemed very convinced, but so did the previous doctor in regards to his diagnosis of the damaged epiglottis.

I want to have faith and believe that this treatment will help, but each day that passes, I loose a bit of it and get more anxious and depressed. I have 3 kids (daughters) with which I spend most of the days, and that's what's giving me some strength to hold on and have a bit of faith. They're also the only thing now that can still make the smile.

As I pointed out in the beginning of this post, I got my tongue pinched and it was right after this that the symptoms of something wrong in the throat appeared. So I'm also starting to think that it could be that it pinched (and damaged) a nerve in the tongue that is connected with the throat area. But maybe that's just a silly idea.

So, in conclusion, I'm between two different diagnosis, one of which is terrible and I hope is wrong, the other one is too good to be true and I hope that it is correct but I doubt it is. I know that there are only 3 options. One of the two diagnosis is correct or there is a third option that the doctors have not considered yet.

But the symptoms are very real and I'm sure that they are not exclusively psychosomatic nor caused by anxiety itself. The anxiety comes from worrying with a real situation, as although the diagnosis is not precise yet, all I know is that whatever the problem is, if it is chronic and I will have to live with this forever, it will be very hard to deal with.

So maybe there's some level of hypochondria, but that is not all. If the onset of the symptoms came from nothing, as if they did not appear after I had that meal, I would accept that it could all be psychosomatic and that anxiety was the origin of the problem. But as it is, I see anxiety as a consequence of the problem which then makes it even worse.

I just don't know to which extent does the anxiety makes it worse. I tried (for the first time in my life) a benzodiazepine about 2 weeks ago, like only 0.75mg of bromazepam, and I really relaxed a lot and became more calm. The sensation in the throat was there but it was much easier to deal with the anxiety out of the scenario. But I don't want to engage in benzo's. I'm looking for a psychologist that can do psychotherapy these days so I might start seeing one the next few days.

But this is such an unpleasant feeling that I'm really very afraid that psychotherapy can't do anything to help. I was feeling so good and so happy before this happened almost 5 months ago... Now I'm all the opposite, it's so hard... and I have so much to loose if this does not go away, it really makes me sad and depressed.

What do you think of my situation? Any advice?

Thanks and king regards,

Anthony.
 

bigjetplane6

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So what do you feel everyday? Is it like pain the throat or a constant feeling that something is stuck?
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi bigjetplane6!

Both. I feel a pain that is soft but it's very disturbing because it is constant, I feel it almost all of the time. But the worse is the feeling that something is stuck or is not right. I felt something stuck for the first 3 to 4 months. And I was 99% sure that something was there, because when I swallowed "dry" (with no food or liquids to swallow) I clearly felt that something was there scratching, with a sensation of the actual material I assumed I got stuck (the crab shell "needle", see attached file).

Now, to be honest, for the last month, I'm not so sure anymore if I have something there or if I have some damage that makes me feel this horrible sensation. The scratch sensation seemed to have been evolving to "only" extreme discomfort and pain when swallowing.

The damaged epiglottis theory of one of the doctors actually fits this sensation, because at swallowing the epiglottis matched the space without scratching anything but now if it is damaged maybe it does not fit that space anymore and ends up giving the sensation of discomfort and pain. But the other doctor that I visited more recently completely denied this possibility of the damaged epiglottis.

All the extensive search I made in the internet also makes me think this is not possible, as there's zero results for epiglottic shrinking due to an allergy reaction (or for whatever reason). The results are always about the opposite, swollen epiglottis (epiglottitis) that is an emergency and when treated the epiglottis gets back to normal, without getting damaged. More than that, people that have serious snoring problems often have medical operations to cut some bits of the epiglottis and then only feel pain for a couple of weeks after the operation...

Then sometimes the pain goes down and I feel something like nerve or muscular pain close to the collar bone (clavicle), which also happens when I yawn. All in all, my quality of life is about 20% of what it used to be.

Whatever it is, apparently it is a very rare situation. So rare that I fear that I won't get a diagnosis even if I see more doctors. Every month that passes and it does not go away and does not improve a bit, gets me more and more anxious. It has been almost 5 months and I'm really tired and depressed with this. For the first time of my life I had real suicidal thoughts. I really don't want to live with this for the rest of my life. I can hang this for my daughters, as I know I'm important for them and I want to see them grow up, but it's really sad if I have to deal with it, I would change it for other chronic disease like diabetes, for example, without even thinking twice.

The reason I think I'm not hypochondriac or that this is not a situation of hypochondria is that I have many other health issues and I never worry about them.

I have asthma, sigmoid intestine ulceras, a leak in the aorta artery's connection with the heart, severe allergies and I even had a spontaneous primary pneumothorax 5 years ago, I had meningitis when I was a kid, chronic polisinusitis, grade 1 poliposis, I have a bit of obstruction in the lower parts of the lungs, I had severe nausea and vomiting for no diagnosed reason between 2006 and 2013 that make me loose about 20kg (44lbs), so now I'm 68kg (150lbs) with my 171cm (5.6 feet), a normal weight, and I was only 48kg (106lbs) when I had that problem, which is not solved but it's controlled with antihistamines (levocetirizine).

Having all this and then spending several years without worrying that I may die or develop serious conditions based on these problems seems like a good proof that I'm not too much of a hypochondriac. Maybe I'm a moderated hypochondriac, like scale 5 from 1 to 10, which doesn't seem to be that relevant in this present situation. But I'm overwhelmed with severe anxiety.

Thanks again for your time, it really helps to be able to talk about this.

-
 

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SB2017

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I’m not sure I could be of much help, but I was wondering if you could see a gastro doctor and he can order an endoscopy. It would give them a clearer picture of whether there is any damage in your throat or esophagus.
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi SB2017! Thanks :)

Well, although my posts are very long (I always write a lot, no matter the subject) they don't include all of the story, as it is already a very long one and I didn't want to get too abusive in regards to the text extension.

I already went to a gastroenterologist also, in the first week of February. The one that I have been seeing for the past 14 years due to other conditions (listed in my last post). We talked about the possibility of an endoscopy, but we agreed that I would give it one more month to see if had any improvement and that, if not, before returning to him, I first visited other otorhinolaryngologist. Which I did, the one that diagnosed the damaged epiglottis.

Then, anxious about that diagnosis, I had to go to another otorhinolaryngologist to confirm the diagnosis, as I thought it was probably wrong. And that other otorhinolaryngologist performed a laryngoscopy (the 4th I had since this happened) but this time, this doctor managed to even enter the esophagus with the laryngoscope. He said that there was nothing there, everything was ok. This is the only laryngoscopy that reached to the esophagus area and also the only one to which I have no video, as it was not recorded, but I trust him.

When I say I trust him, I mean that I know he is telling the truth. But I can't be sure that he managed to see 100% of the areas where something could be stuck. In the laryngoscopies that I have the videos, it is clear that many sights are not visible due to the angle of the camera. In the esophagus area I suppose it also happens, especially in the transition from the throat to the esophagus.

Besides that, I've been suspecting that the fragment of the animal could be stuck in the soft tissues that close the esophagus channel to the throat, which is always closed and only opens when we swallow. Because in the laryngoscopies these tissues (soft tissue / flesh) are only visible in one of the sides while the other side is in permanente contact with the walls of the throat. So, if it was to be there, it would not be visible.

But I also don't know if it would be visible with an endoscopy performed by a gastro. Maybe yes if performed with total sedation.

And given that the CT scans (which I did 2, one with a precision of 3mm and then another one with a precision of 0.6mm just in case the fragment was less than 3mm) showed nothing and also given that the other doctor managed to see my esophagus, I didn't reconsider the possibility of getting back to the gastro. But maybe I will reconsider after I give this treatment a try. After all I'm up to everything to try and get rid of this even if the chances of succeeding are very low. Right now, getting rid of this would feel like winning the lotery.

By the way, I'm not totally convinced that the CT's, even the one with 0.6mm layers, could not miss a small fragment. I've seen the images and quality is too poor to ensure that a very small fragment like the sharp tip of a needle, would not be missed. Well, if it was a needle, it would be more likely visible, due to the type of material, but I don't even know if a crab shell (composed of chitin and calcium carbonate) would appear in a CT scan. And if it's already being absorbed by the body, with granuloma surrounding it, then maybe it could still provoque the symptoms while not appearing in the images.

When we get a prickle stuck in a finger, it hurts a lot and it's almost invisible.

So I've also been thinking if there is no better imaging tools than a CT scan for this type of situation. Or a CT scan more focused in this specific area. Even if I have to travel to another country to have it.

Also, the doctors say (and I already knew it) that the body forms a granuloma around the foreign body and expels it. Assumedly much earlier than 4 months. But I doubt that this can happen in every zones of the body. If it is stuck in a cartilage section, maybe that does not happen. Or if it is compressed between two muscles/flesh, it has no chance to come out, as could happen in the transition from the throat to the esophagus, that zone that is not visible in the laryngoscopies as even when the tube goes down to the esophagus (as the last one I did) the patient has to swallow to make it pass that area, so I really doubt the doctor could check it in detail.

Either way, I would be more comfortable if I knew that all the symptoms are still the consequence of a foreign body, because I think that if that was the case, the body would manage to get rid of it sooner or later or at least the symptoms could very well improve with time.

If there's nothing stuck and the symptoms are a result of a damage, it may very well be a permanent damage and besides that it would probably be very hard to diagnose (determine the exact location of the damage). But this, from all the extensive research I've been doing lately, has to be a very rare situation. I mean, the doctors look at your throat and find everything perfectly fine, but theres a damage somewhere in a nerve, tissue, cartilage or muscle that is not detectable/diagnosable but generates all the unbearable symptoms I've been dealing with. Apparently, it's not usual at all.

I fear that the other doctor was right and my epiglottis is damaged. It really is much smaller in the left side and the foreign body sensation has always been in the left side mainly (as sometimes it even irradiated to the right side a bit a down to lower parts of the throat). But the first doctor did not notice anything wrong with the epiglottis and the last one confronted with it, said that it was normal. One of the CT scan reports also mentioned that the epiglottis was fine.

Sorry for the long text and thanks once again. Any thoughts or opinions are very welcome.

.
 

Kingdoey

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Hi

i know your pain. I experienced similar to this last year and it was the catalyst for falling down the hole of health anxiety.
i had a feeling of something stuck in my throat and convinced myself i had cancer. Thats what Dr Google told me anyway. A year of severe anxiety, visits to the Ent, scopes, MRI scans, all showing nothing. In the end I had my tonsils removed. They were biopsied and got the all clear.
The ironic thing is where the scar tissue has healed I now have a similar sensation to the original issue!

I guess my takeaway to you is; trust the professionals. Countless tests have shown that its nothing serious and although you have been told you may have to live with it, you need to stop obsessing over it. The quicker you do that the less you will notice it. As i type this I can feel the sensation in my throat, because I am thinking of it. 90% of the day I don’t notice it because I don’t think about it.

Stop googling and try and focus on things to distract yourself. Good luck and take care
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi Kingdoey,

Thank you very much for your support, advice and for sharing your experience.

Your "feeling of something stuck" in your throat, started after a meal? Or it just started apparently for no reason?


Stop googling
I already stopped, or I'm really very close from stopping, because at this point I already searched for everything I wanted to investigate and I'm even starting to get repeated results which I already analysed before.


trust the professionals
I do. My only 2 hopes right now are professionals and the ability of the human body to solve its own problems or adapt to them. These are the 2 ways I can get out of this. Or, of course, suicide.

The problem is that the body is not having much success so far and my next appointment is only by the 22nd of April. And I'm feeling really very bad now, the last few days have been horrible and today was the worse as it even seems that the symptoms are getting worse. I had to use an anxiety pill (benzo) and not even that helped. I thought that anxiety was playing an important part but seems like it wasn't as the symptoms persisted even when the anxiety subsided to the medication. Actually, just a bit later I started feeling anxious again because of the symptoms, it's like hell...

Maybe the antibiotics and budesonide I'm taking are doing even worse. I don't know. I only have the appointment in 3 weeks but I think I have to find a psychologist in the meanwhile because I definitely need help.

I'm glad to know you can just not think about it most of the time. In my case, right now, it's impossible. I mean, I can avoid thinking but the symptoms are so torturous that it's impossible not to think about them and they are too real for me to even think that it's all in my head.

I'm not afraid of cancer or any other illness. I'm not afraid of dying. I'm just too scared to even think that I may have to live with this forever, without any possible treatment or natural improvement. That's the only thing that scares me.

:(
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi again everyone.

Just one more thing. I'm trying to find videos on youtube on how to deal with the anxiety from this situation I'm going through.

I search for "how to deal with anxiety from illness" but all I get is videos (some of them very good, actually) that talk about hypochondria. But although it's also interesting and helpful, that's not what I'm looking for.

I'm not anxious for fearing a serious disease that is not real. I'm anxious because I have real symptoms that are overwhelming and for the fear of the possibility of having to deal with them for a long time or even forever.

I'm my case I may be wrong but I believe it's not "all in my mind". For instance, one otorhinolaryngologist diagnosed me with a real health condition (the damaged epiglottis) and told me that my symptoms will be the same forever, with no treatment or operation possible.

So, I assume that I may be more in the class of people who have to struggle with chronic conditions that greatly reduced their quality of life with chronic pain associated and less in the class of hypochondria. Yet to be confirmed, I know, but for what I know at this point and to find the help that I need, I think I'm more in that class.

What should I search for? Any search for "anxiety from illness" although is exactly and literally what I'm having, all the results that come out are related with hypochondria.

If you are diagnosed with cancer (for example) and you have anxiety from it, it's not hypochondria, I suppose...

Thanks.

-
 

Iugrad91

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The old definition of hypochondria where people with no symptoms worry about diseases that aren’t real isn’t used by health professionals anymore, most call it health anxiety, and it is as you described, real symptoms making you worry about a real disease. It’s a form of OCD actually. We worry about the smallest thing and then blow it up to a huge deal, causing more anxiety and more symptoms. Or we have a real sensation due anxiety (say dizziness), worry cycle begins (say brain cancer), then we get headaches, nausea, etc from the anxiety but to is it points right to what we were worrying most about. It can be triggered the first time with a real issue, in your case swallowing something sharp that caused you issues, but then goes on to cause anxiety about other sensations not directly caused by the original problem. Some folks on here had a real health scare or real diagnosis that started their health anxiety. It’s really a worry cycle that perpetuates itself with more symptoms and more worry.

The biggest problem IMO is that we get tests and see doctors and they say it isn’t XYZ (sometimes multiple doctors and multiple clear tests) so they say it’s anxiety. But there is no definitive test for anxiety. So we never really know 100%. I mean, we do know, it’s just hard to accept. Many with health anxiety have a hard time accepting unknowns in life, or having no control in many aspects of life. We want answers with 100% certainty, and life just doesn’t work that way.

The Anxiety Guy has lots of great YouTube videos, he’s helped me quite a bit. There are other resources online as well that can help you reframe your thinking, which is really the issue for health anxiety sufferers.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about a headache, a bruise, etc. Everyone feels odd sensations like heart palps, twitching, occasional shooting pain) but health anxiety sufferers jump to the worst scenario and anxiety takes over from there. It’s a learned process we have practiced over years and replacing it with a new way of thinking also takes practice. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to do just that with tools to reframe our thoughts about sensations and symptoms.

Now you had a real symptom not caused by anxiety but now your having anxiety because it’s not improving and the doctors don’t agree on what it is. At this point your anxiety could be causing your symptoms to worsen, or it can also just be making you hyper aware of them and more painful. If two people have a headache and one tries to distract themselves from it and the other one sits and thinks about how painful it is, which one might feel better? I think that some acceptance and relaxation techniques might help lessen the pain you have. Mindfulness (similar to meditation) has been shown to decrease pain in people with chronic pain. The more we can let go of constantly thinking or worrying about the pain, the less of a hold it has on us and the calmer our nervous system is in response to the sensation. There are lots of mindfulness videos for pain on YouTube as well.

I hope you get some answers soon.
 
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AnthonyMG

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Hi lugrad91,

Thanks for your answer. It has a lot of important support and advice.

The other day I kept searching and I also came across "somatic symptom disorder". It seems to have a lot in common with what I'm going through. But probably it is a subgroup of health anxiety.

In my understanding, health anxiety (or hypochondria) is not something that wether you have it or not. Just like anxiety itself, each person has it to some level. And to most people it only becomes a problem if it goes to higher levels, like more than 7 in a scale from 0 to 10.

If I make a self evaluation of my health anxiety level, with all the subjectiveness of a self evaluation, I wouldn't set it to a very high level. I think it might vary from 3 to 6. I take as an example the last 5 years. I had many symptoms (as some that you describe with the heart, chest, head, etc) from which I could get very anxious but I never got anxious at all.

Just a little over 5 years ago I had a pneumothorax. In the hospital the nurses said that it is one of the most painful situations that the human body can have. I don't agree, as I'd rather have another one than to have, lets say, a leg amputation in an accident, so I assume they were just showing solidarity with my pain. But yes, it was very painful and the 60 minutes that passed since I first started to feel the overwhelming pain until I knew what I had after the examination of a doctor, with was 1 hour of excruciating pain and uncertainty, but yet I was totally calm and not fearing at all that it could be a heart attack or something from that grade of seriousness.

But that could be just from a moment of shock. What I wanted to say is that since then, knowing that the chances of getting another pneumothorax in the first 2 years were of around 50%, and 20% within 5 years, I could have stressed a lot with it because by the second time you have a pneumothorax the doctors have to perform a surgery that sticks the pleura (the lungs, basically) to the ribs to avoid further occurrences. And that is not pleasant at all.

And many, many times, maybe about 4 times a year or so, I felt basically the same onset of symptoms that I felt in the day I had it. Unbearable pain in one of the lungs, so hard and sharp that the person can't move and can't breathe deep or the pain gets even worse. With a high level of health anxiety (as level 7 and plus), I would react much differently than how I reacted. Most times I just remained super calm and relaxed.

So, I'm not so sure about to which extent my supposed health anxiety or somatic symptom disorder contributes to the overall health disturbance that I'm going through. I want to believe that the symptoms are bad (most days they are) and that is something that is unpleasant. But then, the consequent anxiety, doubles the grade of "unpleasantness". So, without anxiety, maybe I could solve half of the problem, which is not bad, but the other half would still be there.

By other words, my understanding of this problem that I'm going through is that, even for the 5% of people in the world with the lower health anxiety level, this situation would be an issue that they would urge to see solved as soon as possible. I don't deny that for me, for being far from that group of 5%, it gets even worse. And I might be wrong but I find it really hard to believe that someone could have the symptoms I'm having and just ignore them and keep with their normal life.

You see... I have 2 different diagnosis at this point, which makes it even harder for the mind to stay quiet. One diagnosis is really very bad as it says that it is a permanent damage and it will be forever, always with the same torturous symptoms and without any treatment or surgery possible. The other diagnosis says that it is just a bacterial colonization of a weak spot somewhere in the throat with bateria coming from the sinuses area and that with antibiotics, nasal corticosteroids and eventually polip removal surgery, I will be "cured".

Now, which diagnosis should I accept as correct and how should I feel when I just finished the antibiotics (8 days), have been using the nasal corticosteroids for a week and see absolutely no improvement?

Of course I tend to think that maybe the "fatal" diagnosis is the correct one. But then I intensively search the web and there is nothing (zero) reports of other people in the world with the same situation. And I speak 3 languages and searched for the 3 of them and no results at all. No one ever had the epiglottis to shrink, and less from an allergic reaction while having a meal. But the doctor said he very much convinced and also that he has another patient that has the same problem.

Then the other doctor, when asked about this possibility, just didn't laugh at my face because he seemed like a very educated man and just told me that it was not that and even explained me why.

With all this, I know there is a third possibility, which is that something is still stuck somewhere in the throat, probably very small and probably in a "blind" spot for the laryngoscopes and probably stuck in some place (maybe in a cartilage) where the body can't do its thing and expel it out. And, who knows, there might be even a fourth possibility...

I know that just from the extension of the texts that I write and from all the angles that I look at the situation, it is probably enough for most people think that I'm having a bad phase of health anxiety. But on the other hand, doesn't it all sound reasonable? And doesn't it seem reasonable that if this doctor can't get me a solution or diagnosis and I keep having the symptoms, I should go for a third and (who knows) fourth opinion?

Where I live we don't have euthanasia yet (seems like probably soon) but if we had, I'd give it a few more months and with no positive developments I would probably consider applying for it. That's how bad it is. Fortunately for each 8 bad days I then get 2 or 3 that I don't feel so bad and can rest a bit from it. If all the days were exactly the same, I'm not sure how long I could hang with this.

Yes, I'm going to start with cognitive behavioral therapy next week. I'm also going to give it a try to bioquantum therapy as recommended by a friend. And I'm probably willing to try anything and go anywhere to get help to solve this or to at least improve the symptoms and associated anxiety.

I'll keep sharing the news with you here.

Thanks again for all the support and advice.

-
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi bigjetplane6,

Thanks for your message and sorry for only replying now.

I've been doing better lately, thanks. The symptoms have been softer in the last 10-12 days and anxiety really goes along with the symptoms, almost totally directly related. So I've also been much better in regards to anxiety. The same with depression, lately I've been much more emotionally balanced and I can get out of bed in the morning without feeling miserable.

Unfortunately not everything is good news. The problem is still there. Whatever there is in the throat, it is still there. It's just not so painful and discomfortable as it usually is.

I'm hoping that wether it is a small fragment of shell that is being "destroyed" by the body and the softer symptoms is because it's in the final stage, or that it is the focus of bacterial infections (as the doctor said) and that it is less "infected" now. Or it can even be a scar from the cut of the fragment of shell that has been healing and it's now in the final stage of healing... Either way, not solved yet.

The other not so good news, is that since this happened, during the last 5 months I also had once in a while some better days when the symptoms were softer. But then, it always got back to worse.

So I'm not totally positive, thinking that now it is going away, because in the past it seemed to be going away (about a couple of times every month) while then it always got back to pain, discomfort and, because of that, stress and anxiety.

Maybe it's just a coincidence, or maybe it also helped in some way, but by the 7th of April I had a session of quantum biofeedback, and it's exactly since then that I have been doing much better than in the 2-3 weeks before that.

Tomorrow I'll have a session with a psychologist for cognitive behavioral therapy. I have it scheduled since I was having a really bad time and although I've been doing better in the last 12 days, I decided to keep with it. At least I can get to know if this psychologist is good for my situation and then if I ended up getting better I would just go there for 2 or 3 times, to only go back if I get worst in the future or if I have other difficult problem.

And in a week I'm going to see the otorhinolaryngologist to see if he thinks that his idea of diagnosis (the bacterial infection focus in the throat) can still be possible given the progression and what else can we do.

Sincerely if I keep feeling at least the way I've been feeling in the last 12 days, I can just wait in the expectance that time heals. But although I want to be optimist and I can be very positive right now, I know quite well that the nightmare is not over and I might get back to a worse situation in just a few days.

Thanks again. I'll share some news if anything relevant happens or, if nothing happens, in 10 or 15 days I'll pass by to say "hi".

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AnthonyMG

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Hi again...

So, in regards to my last post, I might have posted too early... Unfortunately it is back :rolleyes: :(

Yesterday was already hard, with the nasty symptoms getting back with the pain and terrible discomfort in the throat. And of course, along with it, a lot of anxiety. Of course anxiety makes it worse, but I'm more and more sure that the anxiety is a consequence, not the cause.

Last week I had very soft symptoms and so I was basically anxiety free, or at least anxiety was no big issue. Now that I feel some pain and discomfort again, the anxiety is already at a level that I find very hard to deal with. And when I start thinking that this might be a problem with no solution, in a way that I will have to deal it for the rest of my life, I really get desperate and can't function at all, I only think about it and get very anxious.

Today I had the first appointment with the psychologist. But as it was the first visit, we just used our time to talk about the situation and also a bit about me, so that he gets to know me well enough to be able to start with some "exercises" next time, which will be in 2 weeks. He seemed like a good professional how he explained the way he can help me, made sense.

So, we'll see how it helps. I'm sure it will, but I'm not sure if it will help just a bit or a lot.

How I wish I could just have this removed from my throat. I can't accept that with the symptoms I have, there is nothing visible there. It does not seem possible. Wether there is a foreign body or some sort of wound or damage provoked by the foreign body. I can accept that it might also be a focus of bacteria or bacterial infection, but wouldn't that be visible with a laryngoscopy and/or in a CT scan?

It really puzzles my mind and I feel so tired of all this... I also feel like there's something else that is not well in my body. It might be"side effects" of the anxiety, but I feel like the gastrointestinal system is not doing well, I feel like I have a bit of asthma, and a few other things that don't feel normal in my body right now.

It also breaks my heart when I realize that I'm missing the most wonderful days of my two twin daughters, they just turned 2 years old a couple of months ago and they are so beautiful and funny. And with this problem, I can't enjoy it so much, while I also get heartbroken just to think that I will not be able to give them the best of me in the future if I keep dealing with this stupid situation.

It's hard to be optimistic right now, but I still have faith and a good part of me is still far from giving up.

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AnthonyMG

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Last 3 days have been the worse. I'm so down... Can't even sleep, I just roll in the bed overwhelmed by anxiety and depression.

Can't get any support from my wife, just when I needed it the most. She's got some sort of problem and can't deal with me being like this. Only cares about her stuff (watching tv and online clothes shopping), can't give me 1 minute of her time.

Even worse, she makes me feel guilty for not being able to disguise my feeling all the time. I do it most of the time, but not always, right now it's really difficult to disguise all of the time. I have to get out of the house to go and cry somewhere so that she does not see me crying, or else she gets mad with me, calls me selfish and stuff, which only contributes to get me worse.

Tomorrow I'm going to the otorhinolaryngologist, but I'm not expecting much from it anymore. It's getting harder and harder to be optimist. I just want to die. But I don't want to die. So hard...

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Kingdoey

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Sounds like shes had enough. You say shes not supportive but she has probably been so from the start and now has just had enough of listening to it.
My misses was the same with me. You can only push someone so far, especially if anxiety etc doesnt affect them...

You need to address your HA asap mate. You dont need to die or anything crazy like that. You have young kids.You have a sensation which may never go away, as crap as that is, you may have to live with it. In time your mind will adjust and you will barely notice it- i promise you. But your mind cant adjust now while you are in the depths of anxiety. You need to address that first.

stay strong brother
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi Kingdoey,

Thanks for your support.

About my wife, unfortunately she’s never been supportive. Since the first day... she rolled her eyes the first day I told her that I was struggling with horrible symptoms from something stuck in my throat. And it’s not that I’m always complaining about something, the last time was more than 5 years ago and it wasn’t even a complain, I was in the hospital for a week with a pneumothorax.

But it goes with her personality. She’s not supportive at all, no matter the type of problem. And with health problems, even less. This is not a surprise to me. I always knew that once I got old and develop any serious problem, I could not count on her for anything at all. I just didn’t expect it would happen so early, I’m 40.

I already know her well (it has been 18 years) and so I did my best to hide my symptoms and my reaction to them. But more than 5 months have passed and the last 2 months I have been so down that I couldn’t totally hide them anymore. And her reactions just make me feel even worse, as the person that could (should?) support me the most, does exactly the opposite, making me feel even worse.

In 5 months, not even 1 hug, a supportive word or a sign of compassion, knowing that I’m having the hardest time ever in my life.

She’s just like that with everyone, like other family members, including our older daughter. The babies haven’t had much problems yet to get an idea, but I perfectly know how it will go. Actually, even with her patients (she’s an health technician) she acts the same way and does not react well with patients that complain to some extent. And now she compares me with those.

But enough of that, it is another different issue that affects me now more than ever but I have to focus on me. And you are very right, I have to do my best to keep optimistic and, as you say, in the meanwhile, address the health anxiety.

And when it comes to support, my parents support me a lot, a couple of friends are also supportive and my daughters also give me a lot of support although in a passive way. Just troubles my mind that I have to leave the house when I feel the need to express my emotions through crying or else I’m violently called selfish and other non sense.

Thanks again my friend. All the best to you and yours!

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Phillies Phan

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Hi Anthony,

First off, so sorry you’re having to deal with this. To some degree I too deal with a less than supportive spouse. When I’m going through an episode, she’ll typically waiver between trying to talk me through it to just yelling at me. It’s all based on the way she was raised as I suspect may play a part with your wife.

I 100% agree with King when he says that eventually, you will be able to live your life and live it well, even if the throat sensation stays with you. People learn to live with so much stuff in life; we all do to some degree. It’s excellent that your commencing treatment with a mental health professional. Hopefully he will assist you in being able to change the manner in which you view adversity.

You‘re one step away, albeit a big step I understand, to moving on with your life. Fortunately, your doctors have eliminated any serious, i.e. life threatening cause for your pain. Of course it will take time and won’t be easy, but that last step may well be acceptance; accepting that you can move on to live, and love your life and wonderful daughters, even while having to deal with the discomfort. Also accept that the pain may well, eventually fade some, or go away. I had a urologic related pain that lasted 5 months; it ended up resolving. I had mentally already accepted that I’d have to adjust to it for the rest of my life. I waivered between accepting that, to feeling miserable, angry and resentful during that time.

Finally, and since I see similarities between our wives I guess I know the answer, if there’s any chance she would agree to participate in some counseling with you, that would be great. I hear you, mine wouldn’t either.

I wish you peace. Peace of mind which everyone on this forum is seeking to some degree.

Bob
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi Bob,

Thanks for sharing a bit of your experience with me and for your support and advice.

Yes, you're right, she wouldn't agree to participate in some counseling. I only see that happening if one day I was in the hospital with a serious condition and the doctors tell her that I could die from it soon.

I just arrived home, back from the appointment with the otorhinolaryngologist. It didn't went that well, but I was already expecting it. But I managed to arrive home with positivity and showing a smile and all. But at the first chance, she had to tell me how shitty the weekend is going for her, blaming me for that. And here I am, anxious again, because of it.

That's why I said, not only she does not support, it's the opposite, as she can't even be neutral. I always did everything I could for her, but she does not accept anything else besides perfection. And then, if perfection is reached or closed to it, she gets angry and can't deal with someone that is so perfect. How annoying can that be...

About the otorhinolaryngologist, although it went not so well, at least he sent me for a magnetic resonance, which I will be doing as soon as possible. I'm almost sure that nothing will show up, but the small chance that maybe something could appear, leaves me with a bit of hope again. And while I wait to do it and then to get the result, who knows if I get better or get better pain management with the help of the psychologist.

Thanks again my friend. All the best to you!

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Oh, and just one more thing. About this:

Fortunately, your doctors have eliminated any serious, i.e. life threatening cause for your pain.
Yes, I know I don't have any serious or life threatening condition. I know this since almost the beginning. The problem is that you may not have a life threatening condition but if you are being tortured everyday and you have no idea if it will ever stop, I don't know which thing is better. That's the situation. And the fact that this situation also leaves me weaker in regards to other underlying conditions that I had controlled and now are not so controlled anymore.

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Phillies Phan

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Understood.

Sort of funny, but my wife got her Astra-Zeneca shot yesterday. She was up last night with a fever and chills. To listen to her, you’d think it was the end of the world. Starting to feel better, though she wants compassion, but....
 

AnthonyMG

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Hehe, yes, I forgot to mention that my wife complaints about all and everything, all the time. Especially about futilities. Oh... and the headaches and stuff like that. Everyday she complains at least 5 times about simple things that usually don't bother most of the people. And then, if I complain about 1 single thing in a month, even if it's something that is really getting me down, I get a violent reaction and an insinuation that I am selfish :p

That's why I say that she is the one who has a problem. But unfortunately her problem is now affecting me a lot. And because of the 3 daughters I can't be out of the house without feeling guilty (which I don't even need to feel, she takes care of blaming me even before that).

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